Bombers feel robbed by inconsistent calls

Bombers coach Paul LaPolice doesn’t blame poor officiating for Friday’s loss to the Alouettes....

Bombers coach Paul LaPolice doesn’t blame poor officiating for Friday’s loss to the Alouettes. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI Agency)

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:58 PM ET

Upon further review of the review, it was a fumble after all.

CFL director of officials Tom Higgins told Winnipeg head coach Paul LaPolice that a fumble that was officially ruled an incomplete pass late in Friday’s game against Montreal was indeed a fumble.

Feel better now, Blue Bombers fans?

To review, Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo threw a pass for receiver Jamel Richardson which was tipped and fell into his hands. Richardson cradled the ball, turned and took a step, then dropped it when he was drilled by Bomber safety Ian Logan.

Winnipeg defensive back Brandon Stewart scooped the ball up, but the officials immediately blew the play dead. After a review was called for by the officials, the play was ruled an incomplete pass.

Two plays later, Calvillo completed a 48-yard touchdown pass to receiver Brian Bratton that gave Montreal a 41-40 lead with 1:18 left in the game. The Als won 44-40.

“If the officials rule that it’s an incomplete pass, you can’t challenge whether or not the ball was fumbled after that,” LaPolice said after getting an explanation from Higgins. “So the only thing that’s reviewable is whether it’s a catch or no-catch …

“The problem is, on the field, they ruled it an incomplete pass. It should have been ruled completed, OK? Then, err on the side of completion because then you can challenge that and be reversed. And that’s a flaw in the system that Tom said is not good.

“He said it’s clearly fumble and (the CFL is) going to look at trying to address it and try to fix it. The challenge I have is that, in the first quarter, (Bomber receiver) Adarius Bowman had a catch, turned and took a step and a half (then dropped the ball), and that was ruled a fumble.

“They held the whistle and let the play become a fumble whereas, later in the game, the same situation happens and they don’t rule it (the same way). That’s my frustration with the consistency of it.”

LaPolice said Higgins apologized, but that will not change the outcome.

It’s not the first time this type of situation has happened to the Blue and Gold this season. Higgins apologized after a review negated a fumble on a play that affected the outcome of a game against Hamilton.

It was not a great night for the officials, who called what seemed like phantom pass interference penalties and missed an obvious offside on the winning TD.

“There was a (40-yard) penalty on a pass interference and I know those are sometimes judgment calls, but I’d like those to be more consistent,” LaPolice said. “There was no contact. It’s hard to say but it’s frustrating when it’s not consistent.”

Higgins could not be reached for comment, but a CFL spokesman said both the game and some negative comments about the officiating by the Bombers will be reviewed Monday.

Bomber linebacker Clint Kent was flagged for one pass interference and one illegal contact penalty.

“Man, I don’t even know what to say,” Kent said. “I mean, every series, I was playing physical and they push all game — that’s what they do. They push, I’m pulling. I had great coverage both times and I don’t know why they called the p.i. (pass interference).”

The Bombers were clearly frustrated by the flying flags.

“You can’t win with those type of calls,” said defensive end Phillip Hunt. “We feel like we was robbed. A lot of men are affected by these types of decisions by these referees, and I think the CFL should evaluate that because it doesn’t look good.”

LaPolice, however, did not blame the loss on questionable calls.

“We still need to execute better to win the football game,” he said. “There were some crucial things and some mistakes made (by the officials) — but there were just as many mistakes made offensively, defensively and (by) special teams.”

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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